Christian Retailing

Agency’s special marketing programs raise awareness of Christian products in Canada Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 04:28 PM America/New_York

Graf-Martin Communications had ‘strong retailer encouragement’ at development stage of consumer promotional campaigns

Canadian marketing and publicity agency Graf-Martin Communications has launched Spark, a new digital street team platform, and relaunched two of its consumer outreach programs, Nuts about Books and Resourcing Leaders. Graf-Martin offers all three services to new and current clients to augment and support public relations and marketing campaigns.NutsAboutBooks

“We’ve developed, refined and rebranded all of these programs because we know that as times change, we need to connect with consumers in new, strategic and creative ways,” said Ellen Graf-Martin, Graf-Martin Communications’ founder and president. “Our clients want to expand their reach across Canada, and we’ve created simple ways to do just that.”

Graf-Martin’s clients—including Baker Publishing Group, David C Cook, Ten Thousand Villages, Sony Pictures, Pure Flix, World Vision Canada and Focus on the Family Canada—have enjoyed access to these signature programs, but now the programs are being made available to the broader industry.

The communications agency has had “strong retailer encouragement in our development of these programs,” Graf-Martin told Christian Retailing.

In May, the agency piloted its new Spark digital promotion strategy to help launch across Canada films like God’s Not Dead. Unique to the Canadian faith marketplace, Spark Digital Street Teams give products or organizations the opportunity to create “online fireworks.”

Nuts about Books is a program made up of over 250 active bloggers who have been key to the agency’s successes in spreading the word on hundreds of product launch campaigns.

“No one else was hosting a uniquely Canadian, faith-friendly blog program available to all publishers, so we happily set out to fill the gap,” Graf-Martin said. “Nuts about Books is a staff favorite. We know our bloggers by name, we know their blog statistics and engagement levels, and we’re intentional about tracking them regularly.”

Graf-Martin Communications’ key influencer network, now named Resourcing Leaders, connects with 250 national leaders and influencers monthly or bi-monthly. The heart of the program is to see key Canadian church and ministry leaders well-resourced, while giving profile to excellent Christian curriculum, books, films and other media.

“In general, our experience is that much of the promotional and advertising activities that happen stateside simply don’t cross over the border, meaning that the burden to drive consumer awareness and push consumers into stores falls primarily on the shoulders of the retailer,” Graf-Martin said. “The Canadian distributors do some marketing efforts, but they’re also limited in what they can reasonably do at a broader level. Budgets are just tight everywhere. Our creation of these programs has been designed to help fill the gap—scaling the resources so that any publisher, distributor and so forth can access them, create product awareness and drive sales to retail.”—Johnson